Sto­ries from the grave

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

OVER 50 en­thu­si­asts walked through the Port Dou­glas ceme­tery last week­end to learn about the re­gion’s past as part of Aus­tralian Her­itage week.

The pro­ces­sion was led by fu­neral di­rec­tor Stephen Old­ham, who said it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber the pioneers, on be­half of the Dou­glas Shire His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

Port Dou­glas was dis­cov­ered in 1877 and the first per­son to be buried at the ceme­tery was Ge­orge Fresh­ney who died June 22, 1878 at the age of 21. He was a cedar log­ger in the Dain­tree.

“We go from the very first per­son to be buried and stay within a few decades and walk through the old part of the ceme­tery where all the pioneers are,” Mr Old­ham said.

“There are some fan­tas­tic char­ac­ters and it’s a great op­por­tu­nity to learn where they’re from and who they were - there are so many won­der­ful sto­ries.

“A lot of them are the fore­run­ners of long stand­ing Moss­man and Port Dou­glas fam­i­lies - Moss­man ceme­tery didn’t open un­til 1938 so ev­ery­body was buried in Port Dou­glas up un­til that time.”

The walk went for two hours last Sun­day and the his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety’s Pam Wil­lis-bur­den con­trib­uted to the com­men­tary along with Noel Weare and An­nette Anich and said ev­ery­one “thor­oughly en­joyed it”.

’We’ll cer­tainly do it again and we’re also plan­ning a guided walk through the Moss­man ceme­tery in the fu­ture,” Ms Wil­lis-bur­den said.

“Our his­tory is part of who we are and it’s re­ally im­por­tant to learn and value what peo­ple from past times did for us.

“If there are any peo­ple with grand­par­ents buried in the pioneer sec­tion of Port Dou­glas ceme­tery, we’d love to hear their sto­ries.”

If you have sto­ries to share, con­tact Pam Wil­lis-bur­den from the Dou­glas Shire His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety on 4098 4900.

Speak­ing from the grave: fu­neral di­rec­tor Stephen Old­ham

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